06 Oct How to Make the Most Out of Your Test Spa
Improve Your Customer’s Experience with a Test Spa
Top brick-and-mortar retailers today are all about the customer experience. As a spa dealer, this is your prompt to step into your customer’s shoes and think about the hot tub purchase experience from their perspective. So, what are they thinking and feeling? Where does the test spa fit in here?
Let’s ask this another way: How much does a test drive make selecting a car easier?
The spa product is a large ticket item that consumers should absolutely be able to test before making the big spend. Being able to try out the spa not just improves, but completes the customer experience.
Test Spas and the Customer Experience
Businessdictionary.com defines customer experience as “the entirety of the interactions a customer has with a company and its products.” By optimizing touchpoints between your store (its products) and your customers, you essentially improve the overall customer journey as well as your potential for sales. Consider these statistics:
- Over 50% of shoppers say they would pay a higher price for the customer experiences they value most, and 77% of shoppers would be more loyal to stores that provide their personal top three customer experiences (Synchrony Financial).
- Engaged consumers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and are five times more likely to indicate it is the only brand they would purchase in the future. All of these factors lead to engaged customers delivering three times the value to the brand over the course of a year (Rosetta).
- Businesses can lose 20% of revenue from poor customer experiences (Oracle).
- 95% of consumers share bad experiences with others (Zendesk).
Having an area for customers to give your spas a trial run, first and foremost, drives store traffic. When you’re one of the few spa dealers in an area that has a test spa, customers are more likely to choose your store first. If you’re one of the few who doesn’t have a test spa, you’re likely losing business to the competition.
If you’re one of the few who doesn’t have a test spa, you’re likely losing business to the competition.
The test spa also works to move a sale forward without added sales pressure. Letting your hot tubs speak for themselves is a much more effective sales tactic, especially if you can get the whole family’s buy-in at the same time.
These testing customers also serve as first-hand testimonial sources in and out of your store. Even if they don’t end up making the purchase, these testers translate into shared experiences with fellow consumers. That’s just one more “bonus” touchpoint optimized along another’s buying journey.
Using the Test Spa to Sell Health Benefits
Are you concerned about losing limited, but valuable floorspace by incorporating a test spa into your showroom? Well, you shouldn’t be. Test spas serve as a sales tool that has the potential to improve your ROI exponentially when compared to just another empty, non-interactive spa display.
SpaRetailer recently reported 70% of hot tub consumers want a spa for its warm-water therapy. They also found that 50% want a spa to lower stress, 40% to improve overall health, and 30% to improve sleep. In the same report, they found that only 44% of spa retailers promote wellness in their advertising.
70% of hot tub consumers want a spa for its warm-water therapy... 50% want a spa to lower stress, 40% to improve overall health, and 30% to improve sleep.
With this kind of demand, just imagine if more of these retailers effectively added a test spa to to its arsenal of sales tools to promote wellness. Here’s a one-time spa retailer’s actual experience that does a great job at making the point.
Terry Guilfoyle, now Director of Sales for Bullfrog Spas, was once a spa salesman in Omaha, Nebraska. While working the floor, Terry approached a customer and engaged her in conversation to gauge interest.
She mentioned her arthritis and the aches and pains she suffered on a regular basis because of it. The customer had heard that soaking in a spa had helped other arthritis sufferers, but couldn’t find studies out there that clarified the mechanism and definitively proved the hypothesis. Of course, she was hopeful that a regular soak in a hot tub would help her. But she wasn’t about to commit thousands of dollars on a product that might or might not help her in the way she needed.
Fortunately, Terry’s dealership had a test spa in the store. And this was his offer: Come into my store every day for the next week with your swimsuit, sit in our test spa for 15 minutes, and see how you feel; then we’ll talk more about a possible spa purchase.
The customer said, “That’s not super convenient, but why not?” and proceeded to visit the store for the next seven days.
At the end of the week, this once-skeptical customer had not only become a spa therapy believer, but had developed such a rapport with Terry that she didn’t even consider going to one of the four other local spa competitors to compare products or prices.
And her appreciation didn’t end there. This customer made an effort to stop by the store every time she was in the neighborhood to reiterate the health benefits she had continued to realize over time.
I’ve heard similar stories from other salespeople. Whether their customers were recovering from a serious car accident or looking for a way to reduce anxiety, giving them a chance to prove spa health benefits to themselves made the difference between a curious lead to a closed (and perhaps repeat) sale.
Tip: Listen for each customer’s source of pain or stress and offer a trial period to experience relief in your test spa. That could be the avid runner looking for faster recovery time, the overworked businessman needing to sleep better, or even the harried mom looking for a little escape.
Still Concerned about Floorspace?
Then there’s always the potential of a test spa serving double duty. When not in use, open up the area and include it in the store’s retail design as an additional display stop.
Tip: Incorporate space-saving sliding barn doors or pocket doors into the test spa’s entry area for easy transition.
Test Spa Considerations
One way to build customer experience is to create more of a personal “mood room” rather than test area in your store. H2Insider has mentioned Arizona Hot Tub Company and the three themed test spa rooms they attribute to driving store traffic and sales: one is a functional movie theater that appeals to families; another resembles a sanctuary for relaxation; and the third offers an outdoor environment complete with grass, spa surround decking, and cricket sounds. By building atmosphere using specific decor, music, and smells, a test spa area can be transformed into a unique encounter that reinforces how a hot tub improves customer lives in various ways.
One way to build customer experience is to create more of a personal “mood room.”
The customer experience doesn’t simply end with theme development, however. Thought should be given to test spa location, privacy options, dressing room space, and even the quality of linens/towels.
Accessibility and safety issues should also be addressed with use of railings, steps, and mats to avoid slippage. In this way, the test spa also becomes a great place to highlight spa accessories—think seat cushions, bluetooth speakers, and even waterproof playing cards. Again, knowing your customer’s individual needs and concerns can help you identify which accessories will draw them in.
Tip: Start with using the most effective terminology when communicating with the customer. Within the industry, the test spa is commonly referred to as a wet spa. However, the average customer is not going to be in on industry jargon and might even consider that term offputting. The more we promote the experience as a test run rather than a wet one, the more appealing, and perhaps cleaner, it sounds.
How to Promote Your Test Spa
What good is your test spa if your customers don’t know about it? To get the word out, it’s important to incorporate the test spa into your promotional strategy.
This begins with mentioning the test spa opportunity in all your store’s advertising efforts, including outside and in-store signage. Use headlines like “Try a Spa Today” or “Try it For Yourself Here.” For anything in print, photos of the test spa or mood room can make a quick impression.
Remember those customer touchpoints we talked about earlier? It’s a good exercise to go down the list and work in the test spa opportunity at every stage. When someone calls for spa information, always make sure they’re aware they can come in at anytime to try out the latest and greatest. In any email correspondence, include a note in signature about your test spa.
With all referral and lead follow-up, make sure the customer knows they can come in with swimsuit in hand.
Tip: After closing a sale, send a personal invitation your customer can forward to family and friends about a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon trying out your spas.
Are you convinced yet? Test spas offer hot tub retailers the ideal opportunity to show off product, build brand, and generate revenue. The value is there, and now you simply reap the rewards by implementing the concept into your business.